1)What are you hoping/aiming to receive for Nurkic in potential packages?
T.J.: A deal including Nurkic is not as easy as it seems. He is the Nuggets only true backup center so the Nuggets would have to either bring a center back in trade or find one elsewhere. With that being said sending Will Barton and Jusuf Nurkic to the Milwaukee Bucks for Greg Monroe is a deal I would look into. Barton would immediately help the Bucks spacing issues and add another ball handler while the Nuggets get a clear upgrade at backup center in Monroe.
Mathew: Nurkic is someone who is not going to fetch an all-star in a deal, so I would be content with some quality draft picks and/or some extra money. There is somewhat of a log jam in the front court with him and Jokic, so a Nurkic trade will be beneficial for both sides.
Mallorie: If the goal is to just trade Nurk, I would just say draft picks but I don’t see the Bosnian Beast leaving alone. I only really see him as a package deal. Ultimately I think we need to find a backup center who will be okay with coming off of the bench.
Rafael: I think we need to aim for a backup center a young wing with some potential. If the wizards are interested I say we try for Kelly Oubre Jr. That would give us insurance in case we trade Danilo Gallinari or Wilson Chandler and would add another young player to our roster.
Corban: I’m going to pull a shameless plug and take from an article I just wrote on D.I.D. about the subject (haha) But ideally the Nuggets would trade Nurkic for a veteran to aid their run to the playoffs, and they’d also acquire some future picks. Play for this season, and keep the core they have right now. Nurkic to Brooklyn won’t give you a treasure trove of picks, but you can probably bring back Randy Foye and get Luis Scola, two veterans who don’t expect a ton of minutes but know their role and can produce when needed.
Sean: Concerning Jusuf Nurkic, I don’t think a first round pick is out of the question. In my opinion, some potential destinations could include the Celtics, Mavericks or the Pelicans.
Alex: Hoping to acquire a big that can provide a defensive presence in the paint and can protect the rim. The Nuggets are missing defense from the power forward and center positions, so that should be addressed when listening to Nurkic offers.
Vincent: Personally when I first heard of the nuggets possibly trading Jusuf Nurkić I figured it would be as a part of a bigger deal. Perhaps for Paul Millsap, but it appears the Nuggets want to just trade Nurkić. With that being said I feel the front office is just looking to send Nurkić somewhere where he will have a chance to start. I think the smartest thing to do in this trade is to acquire a good veteran. One player I think would be perfect for this deal is Jae Crowder of the Boston Celtics, while he isn’t a 10+ year vet he can however bring some winning experience to this team. Something that not a lot of current players on this roster have experienced before. It’s no secret that the Celtics need a center, and as they aren’t willing to go get DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins from the Kings, Nurkić fits Boston well. As for Denver, Crowder is a good defender which can go a long way on this team, similar to Andre Iguodala a couple of years back was. Also, while he doesn’t bring an A+ offensive game, he does average a respectable 13 points a game and shoots close to 89% from the free throw line. A player like Crowder on this Denver team can help a ton down the stretch in the fight for the playoffs.
Derek K: If the trade only involves Nurkic, I think the best we can hope for are draft picks to hopefully include in a larger deal to acquire a star. The Nuggets rotation is already filled with good players, so swapping Nurk for another player is counter-intuitive in my opinion unless he is a part of a much larger deal.
Wardell: Well, at this point I think it’s fairly safe to say that Nurkic will very likely be moved before the deadline. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bum me out, but that’s just the nature of the Association. Now, if he were to be moved, then it would probably be for a player that would further the Nuggets’ odds of securing the final playoff spot in the West. If that’s the case, then it wouldn’t be too outlandish to see Tim Connelly do everything he can to obtain Boogie from Sac-town. Denver’s play lately suggests that they are much better than the Kings, and the more Sacramento loses, the unhappier Boogie gets. It would be very hard to get a deal done, but it definitely would be possible.
2)What is the best way to increase Pepsi Center attendance at games?
Mallorie: I think this has already started to be answered with how the Nuggets have been playing as of late. Exhibit A would be the Pepsi Center on Saturday night. Right now the Nuggets are the sole holders of the 8th seed and I’m sure that in itself is a big reason for the pickup in crowd attendance. Another way to maybe increase attendance would be to give “college deals” or something of the sort. With CU, Metro State, and a few other colleges/universities in and around Denver, I’m sure if there were discounted days or package deals aimed at university students, attendance would also increase.
TJ: The only way fans are coming back is if Nikola Jokic turns into an All-Star or the Nuggets find a way to bring in someone who is and also find a way to start winning much more often than not. Denver is football country and if the Nuggets are to stand out it they need to win with star level players.
Mathew: To be honest, this is a difficult situation. There really is no way to magically make the fans come back all of a sudden, so I would say make the playoffs (possibly beat the Warriors at least once in a 7 game series?) and show this team is going to be a serious threat in the future. I hate to give a cliché answer like that, but that is what I believe.
Rafael: The crowd will come with wins. We have already seen fans show up recently like in the game against the Clippers. It also helps that Nikola Jokic has been playing at an all-star level.
Corban: Offer free 12 packs of Pepsi for every Nugget win where they hold opponents to under 110. Next question, (lol jk) To be honest I feel the Nuggets should get an identity. What type of team are they? They should look at their personnel and assemble a clear rotation and role for all of their players, so the fans can know exactly what type of team they have and their direction thus getting behind their team . As longs as they have this mass of what appears to be average interchangeable players, the Pepsi Center will continue to fluctuate based off of a hot streak by the Nuggets or the quality of their opponents.
Sean: The obvious answer for an increase in attendance would be to put a better product out onto the court. However, it’s not that simple. Continue promotions and make the Pepsi Center more social media friendly.
Alex: Honestly, the best way is to just keep winning games and win the big games. Show the fans that there is something legitimately exciting happening with the Nuggets. When fans start to see that the Nuggets can win the big games, more people will want to come to the Pepsi Center.
Vincent: Two ways to raise attendance are to win more games and get people around Colorado more hyped about Nikola Jokić. If the Nuggets were winning more games it would be much easier to attract fans. Sounds pretty obvious but it’s proven to be effective for any other team with good attendance. I feel the people in Denver want to be Nuggets fans, they want to come out and support the team. But with the way the team has been these last couple years, fans don’t wanna go and watch a sub .500 team. Next, we have a legitimate superstar here in Denver, something we haven’t had since Melo left us. You get people behind the idea that Jokić is a legit top-tier player in this league and you will have people wanting to come out and see him and the rest of the Nugget crew.
Derek K: Simple answer: Win.
Derek P: The best way we can increase attendance is already coming to fruition. Although the Nuggets have certainly gone through rough patches during the season, they have appeared to find a solid connection in team chemistry after the trip across the pond. Before that game in London, Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler sent out a tweet saying “we done throwing negative energy into the universe” that certainly has seemed to be the case since the 28 point blow out game the boys orchestrated that night. The selfless passing, and energy amongst the players has visibly jumped off of the screen, and also showed in the box score. The Nuggets are playing great exciting basketball and are in sole possession of the 8th spot in the West. Nuggets fans just need to show up now, and “Dig In” to the energy to back these Nuggets for a good playoff run. That certainly was the case last night against the Clippers as everyone in attendance could “feel” the energy. Let’s hope to continue this momentum.
Wardell: I think this question has already been answered given the turnout for the Nuggets’ last home game on Saturday. The best way to sell-out crowds is to play an exciting and effective brand of basketball, which is exactly what the Nuggets have been doing over the past 5 games or so. It also helps that Nikola Jokic has been developing into one of the premier big men that the NBA has to offer (positive national exposure is always a good thing).
3)Mudiay: Stay or go?
Mallorie: Stay. It’s not time to give up on Mudiay. I’ll put it this way–Emmanuel Mudiay is 20 years old and a season and a half in to his career in the NBA. He has real potential and it’s WAY too early for us to be giving up him.
TJ: I think it is far too early to give up on Mudiay to the point that you remove him from the team. Point guard is the toughest position to learn in basketball and Mudiay has far to go but the physical tools are there as is the vision. Trading for someone who is a clear upgrade and moving Mudiay to the bench is an option that could be explored but getting rid of him would be a panic move and a bad one at that.
Mathew: He is only in his 2nd year and is still extremely young so I say stay for now. He is still developing so I give him somewhat of a pass for this season, however, if he doesn’t make a huge jump next year, then Denver needs to explore different options at point guard. He seems to be on a bit of a roll lately, but I’m more interested in if he can keep it up, since consistency has been a problem.
Rafael: Definitely stay. He’s only 20 years old and teams who give up on their players so quickly are never consistent enough to build anything. If we want to contend, we need to assure our coach and our young point guard that we have their backs through thick and thin.
Corban: Go. I may be biased because I’ve never been much of a fan, but Mudiay hasn’t taken the step forward that many expected this season. When I look at him play I see a potentially impactful role player, but not a top 3 option on any team. We can go on and on about his almost abysmal shooting, but even worse is the lack of confidence he has in it. He is almost Ricky Rubio like in the way he will avoid taking a shot sometimes, even when open. Now he is athletic, is in only is second year, and is still only 20 years old. However I don’t see this turning around. I would move him while you still have time to a team enamored in his potential in exchange for this year’s draft pick, and then use that to get the next Denver point guard of the future. I don’t think Mudiay is that guy.
Sean: Although I have admittedly been tough on Mudiay, I believe it is too soon to move on. He was the seventh pick for a reason. Only 20 years old and in his second season, I believe he is starting to turn a corner.
Alex: It honestly is still too early to tell. Although I am not the biggest Mudiay fan, he still is only 20 years old. He is still relatively raw, and struggles to be a consistent scorer from the point guard position. In today’s NBA, the point guard position is filled with players who can score on a nightly basis. He has shown flashes of play making ability and he is a great athlete, but he has not proven to everyone that he is the point guard for the future for the Nuggets. At this time though, it is hard to say if he should “go.”
Vincent: STAY. Mudiay is still ridiculously young, 20 years old(!), and has actually started to turn his play around a little bit. His field goal percentage is up from last year, as his three-point percentage is. While they aren’t percentages that will blow you away, he’s improving, especially at free throws. Last year fans were terrified of him stepping to line, shooting just 67%, now he’s much more comfortable at the charity stripe shooting almost 79%. Possibly one of the most important improvements he’s had is the fact his turnovers are down from last year. Last year he averaged 3.2 Turnovers per game and now that’s down to 2.6 per game. While the number still is high, it’s much more manageable than last years. As long as he keeps improving year to year, he will be just fine. Many NBA players come into the league who aren’t amazing shooters, and over time develop a good offensive game. I expect the same to be true with Emmanuel Mudiay, Just give it a little more time.
Derek K: I’ve written about this before – but I’m a Mudiay apologist. I think he brings a lot to the table and he’s still incredibly young. I’m not opposed to moving him in a deal if we can get a star to replace him, but if not I’m fine riding the ups and downs with Mudiay.
Derek P: Even though there are many valid points regarding the frustration on his play over the last two seasons, I am apart of team Mudiay. He’s shown too many flashes of being more than able to excel at point guard and improve upon his skills. Adam Mares of the Denver Stiffs and Chris Axmann of Almighty Ballin, both commented how good the Nuggets offense was with a sub par performing Mudiay, and had talked about what a halfway proficient guard could do with this offense. Since then, Mudiay has severely increased his guard play and even recorded his career high in assists (13). In fact, over the last five games, Emmanuel is shooting 40% from the field , and averaging 6.2 assists per game while only giving up 2.6 turnovers. And those numbers include last nights game where Mudiay went 0/8 from the field, however it was cited that he was having lower back soreness and would not return to play in the second half of that game. I truly believe Emmanuel has the skills to pull of his comeback and lead this Nuggets team. He may still regress at points this season but as long as he shows the ability to make progress, I wont give up on him until he gives up on himself . #VivaLaMudiay
Wardell: Look, I totally understand the frustrations that fans get while watching a second-year point guard start. Especially when the point guard position is as deep as it’s ever been in the NBA. But I don’t get any of this talk of trading an incredibly athletic guard, who’s still only 20 years old. I guess it’s just that fans tend to be impatient at times, but Mudiay has shown incredible flashes of his potential, and that’s definitely worth something. Also, most of the NBA’s premier point guards began their career playing as inconsistently as Mudiay has. Don’t believe me, go check the shooting percentages and per 36 minutes put up by Russell Westbrook and John Wall during their first two seasons in the league. Matter of fact, check their first three and tell me it’s not nearly identical to Mudiay’s. The only difference, they got more minutes per game so their numbers are inflated. That’s not to say that Mudiay will become an all-star/MVP candidate, but stop criticizing him for not starting off as well “Magic” Johnson or pre-injury D Rose. That’s just not fair to anyone.
4)Who should we target in the draft?
TJ: I am the biggest Josh Jackson fan you will come across. His “win at all costs” mentality is second to none and his defensive intensity is elite. He has all the athletic gifts anyone could ask for and is able to run point-forward due to his high basketball IQ and ability to facilitate. Josh Jackson is essentially a clone of Andre Iguodala without the ego. He fits the “work” culture that Malone references so often and is the ideal defensive weapon on the perimeter.
Mathew: Denver should target Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac. There is a chance Denver will lose Gallinari this summer leaving a void at the wing. If Denver cannot make up for it by getting a free agent small forward like Gordon Hayward, then they need to draft someone as added insurance at that position. Malik Beasley can step up in a backup role while Isaac develops in the Developmental league or serves in the same position that Beasley is embracing this year.
Rafael: I can’t really tell you who because at this point we’re not a lottery team and I don’t know much outside the lottery yet but if we can somehow pick up Grayson Allen, I think that he would add another dimensions to our guards that we currently don’t have. We don’t have a gritty guard to get up players faces and get into the opposing teams heads. He can also score and run the pick and roll. With Allen we would have 5 guards who are capable of playing both positions for large stretches and our offense should never see droughts.
Corban: Because I feel that Mudiay is not the answer, I would pursue a point guard in the draft. This class just happens to be loaded at that position, so there are plenty of options there. Since the Nuggets seem to still be pulling for the playoffs they might find themselves looking at an Edmund Summer or a Frank Ntilikina, But there is still plenty of season left, so let’s say the Nuggets tank (you never know) they might find themselves able to grab a Malik Monk or a Dennis Smith. In either case if I’m Tim Connelly I’m drafting a guard.
Sean: For me, it is honestly too early to target any one player in the draft. The Nuggets are in a position where they may draft the best player available when they are on the clock.
Alex: I cannot remember a time when I was this excited for an upcoming draft. This draft is loaded with talent, and will probably be the best draft class we have seen in over a decade. I think the Nuggets could go in a couple different directions here. I think the Nuggets could really benefit from a young perimeter scorer, especially if Gallinari may not be part of the long-term future. In this case, you can look at Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson. Tatum is already a polished scorer at 6’8”. He can drive the ball, he has a great mid-range game off the dribble, and he can score from 3. He has a great skill set for his size and should definitely be considered. Jackson is a player who can impact the game in a multitude of ways. He’s a great defender, a very good passer, and absolutely lethal in transition. He would also add some much-needed athleticism to this Nuggets ball club. Now depending on where the Nuggets finish, these guys may not be around when the Nuggets are on the clock. If they are a playoff team, they will have a later pick. In this case, I would look to a player like Ivan Rabb. Ivan Rabb is a power forward who chose to come back to California for his sophomore season to improve his all-around game. He is a terrific rebounder, a solid shot blocker, and a double-double machine. He would pair nicely next to Jokic. I would also consider Miles Bridges out of Michigan State as well. Bridges can play small forward or power forward. He is a solid rebounder, but he is known for his offensive versatility. He can put it on the floor and can get to the rim, but can also stretch out the defense with his 3-point shooting. I think the Nuggets should focus on adding a young perimeter small forward, or finding someone who can fit next to Jokic.
Vincent: It’s hard to say which player they should target because we are only mid way through the season and a lot can still change in the standings. But if I had to say who they should target during the draft I would have to say a forward. There are a lot of forwards I like out of this draft class including: OG Anunoby(Recent knee surgery could knock him into late first), Jonathan Isaac, Miles Bridges, Lauri Markkanen just to name a few. It also worth noting that Denver will have two first round picks, they own the Memphis Grizzlies pick via the Cavs, which will most likely be a late first rounder. At that pick I could see Denver simply taking the best player on the board as there are no real holes on this roster.
Derek K: No one – we should trade our first round picks and other assets (Nurkic) for a star that can help us win now. We are already a young team and need to try to go out and get a superstar. Obviously we need to find a willing partner, but I think that is the better course of action in our current situation.
Wardell: I think the safest position for Denver to target would be a wing. There’s no certainty of them retaining Gallinari after this season and they have a future potential starter at nearly every other position. Take that, as well as the increased likelihood that they make the playoffs, and I think that it may be in Denver’s best interest to target Harry Giles. His season hasn’t quite gotten off to the start everyone wanted, and his injury history is likely to cause a slip on draft day.
5) Now in the 8th spot, should the Nuggets continue to push towards the playoffs?
Mallorie: Absolutely! We’re already holding the 8th seed. I think that the Nuggets need to continue this push towards the playoffs because they have the potential. Even if we get knocked out in the first round, I truly think it will give this team the drive to continue making that push year in and year out.
TJ: Denver is pushing to the playoffs. There is no doubt about that. Malone and the team has reiterated that fact over and over. While there is an argument to look to the 2017 NBA Draft it seems the team is passed that point. They are currently a full game up on Portland for the 8th seed and has a fairly easy schedule upcoming giving the Nuggets a chance to take a strong hold on the 8th seed.
Mathew: I’ve been consistent with this question all year and I am not changing my position. The Nuggets need to make an attempt at the playoffs. It is time, they have had plenty of time to rebuild and reload. Plus, if Denver can ride the momentum that Nikola Jokic has provided, and sneak into the 7 seed somehow and avoid Golden State, that’s some extra brownie points.
Rafael: Yes. I know a lot of fans want the Nuggets to tank for Jackson but the fact is that even if we try to tank, we have soo much talent that we’d ultimately end up with a 10-14 pick. We don’t need anymore middle of the pack picks. We need to give our current roster experience in the playoffs and a taste so that they could want more. Even if we end up bounced in the first round by Golden State it will give players like Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and the other young guys a reason to work harder and attempt to build upon the seasons success.
Corban: Yes, continue to pull for the playoffs. Unless the trade deadline comes and goes and the Nuggets have offloaded most of their veterans to embrace the youth movement once and for all, then I think they should hold on to the 8th. Yes the Nuggets won’t make much noise if they get in, but that would do wonders for their fan base and a feel good story for the team in this lost season.
Sean: This upcoming draft is loaded with talent. Earlier in the season I was an advocate for the Nuggets to tank. Seeing how bad the Western Conference is from the 8th seed and below, I am on board with the Nuggets pushing for the playoffs. Their young nucleus will only get better with playoff experience. Being a playoff team may also attract upcoming free agents who believe in the movement with the young talent.
Alex: The Nuggets should absolutely try to get to the playoffs. They have missed the playoffs these past three seasons. The 8th spot is completely up in the air, and the Nuggets’ goal should be to make it to the playoffs. That would be a big accomplishment for this team.
Vincent: I do feel we should push for the playoffs for a couple of reasons. To start, getting back on the national radar would be great for this team as it allows them to showcase their talents to the country. An 8 seed would almost guarantee a trip to California to face the Warriors, a team that will always be on primetime TV in the playoffs. This also allows the world to see just what Nikola Jokić can do over a course of the game. Most people just see a 7 second clip of Jokić on twitter or read a tweet about him, by making the playoffs people would be able to see and experience first hand what the hype is all about. Also, if lets say they got the 9 seed and missed the playoffs, the player drafted in the mid teen would not be one of the best players in the draft, so making or missing the playoffs by a few games would not kill your draft by any means.
Derek K: As you can probably surmise from my other answers – playoffs, baby! We need the city to get excited about Mile High Basketball again. Even though it’s a likely first round exit, having that experience to build on could be extremely valuable.
Wardell: Given the likeliness of Jusuf Nurkic being dealt and the uncertainty of what the Nuggets’ roster will be going forward, I think that it’s best to take this on a game-to-game basis. It’s important not to set this young team up for any sort of long-term failure, and baby-steps are a good way to manage expectations. At least until any sort of deal is made. I say the sooner they can make a deal, the better. After that, then Denver can choose to aim wherever they believe is best for the future of the franchise. Hopefully that’s the playoffs, but you never really know.
6) Favorite game/best win of the season so far?
Mallorie: If you know me, you’ll know that I have the decision-making skills of a squirrel in the middle of the street so, of course, I have two answers. My favorite game so far is when we played against the Bulls in November. That was the day that we saw a Jamal Murray put 24 points on the board and see the passion that he has for this game. The best win, in my opinion, is the one we just played against the Pacers in London. In their incredible 140-112 win over the Pacers after losing 5 in a row, I think this team realized they have the capability to be great and it gave them that extra nudge to make a run at the playoffs.
TJ: The Nuggets beating the Boston Celtics on the second game of a back to back with travel after losing a heartbreaker to the Memphis Grizzlies. That win kept the Nuggets hopes up and helped them fight through a rough early stretch of the season.
Mathew: I would have to go with the London game against Indiana. That game showed the great potential with this team and was one of the few blowouts that Denver was on the winning side of the column for this season. I mean, this is the team who is ranked 29th in opponents points per game, and they held a star in Paul George to just 10 points on an abysmal field goal percentage that game. That was the game that propelled the catapult into the 8 seed that Denver is holding onto right now.
Rafael: I believe our best win was the one against Portland last month. The Nuggets ran over them and it gave the team and fans confidence. I think that win propelled the playoff run.
Corban: My favorite game was the nail biter against my Lakers, strong play by the Nuggets throughout, particularly by Nikola Jokic. The comeback by the Lakers was exciting, and the Nuggets holding on and closing out the game was ultimately satisfying. An all around enjoyable game to watch. Watching the Nuggets dismantle the Clippers last night was also entertaining.
Sean: My favorite game this season has to be Jamal Murray’s 24 point explosion against the Bulls. He Lead the charge in what was a 41 point second quarter, finishing the night with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting. This included 3-for-4 from behind the arc. He played 21 minutes, but accumulated all of his points in just 15 minutes. This game showcased his feel for the game, his explosiveness and shooting ability. This was the point in which Nuggets nation knew we had something special in Jamal Murray.
Alex: I think the best win for the Nuggets was their win at TD Garden back in November against the Celtics. However, my favorite game to watch was their 140 point game in a win against the Pacers. The Nuggets’ offense was firing on all cylinders, and this game showed just how good the Nuggets can be on the offensive side of the ball. It has also been really exciting to watch Jokic, especially the last few weeks. He has been such a treat to watch. He has had four straight double doubles, in which he has scored over 20 points in all four games.
Vincent: Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Chicago Bulls vs Denver Nuggets, does that game ring a bell? If not it should, it’s the game where Jamal Murray dropped 24 points and introduced himself to the Nuggets faithful and the entire league. The game including the most exciting quarter of basketball I can remember the Nuggets playing this year. Murray and the rest of reserves checked into the game down by 14 and proceeded to go on a 22-0 run to spark the Nuggets bench and the crowd. That run was highlighted by a couple Jamal Murray heat check threes and an unbelievable “and 1” in which he switched hands mid shot to bank it off the glass. The game was big for the young group of Nuggets as they finally got over the hump that was closing out close games in which they lead late.
Derek K: The London game against the Pacers. This is partly just because we had a long stretch between games for travel and getting accustomed to the time change, but the win on the trip has seemed to spark new live to the Nuggets team that has played very well since returning from across the pond.
Wardell: Call it recency bias, but I really enjoyed Saturday’s game against the Clippers. The energy in the arena was incredible, and it was pretty clear that the Nuggets’ roster felt it. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come in the Pepsi Center, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I also really enjoyed watching Jokic play angry. In the third quarter, when he flipped the switch to turn into “Angry” Jokic from the Jokic we normally see, he looked like he could take on any center in the NBA.
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